Monday, November 30, 2009

some things never change

fabulous hair. perfect slacks. paparazzi.

photos: unknown/bardot

lovely elizabeth

that is one classic tee shirt. i wore mine when i got my first skateboard.

the gentleman and the scene stealer

well, bette davis thought she was. miriam hopkins may be a thief but she is always such a treat. herbert marshall? one of my all time faves. they look just glorious here.

'all through the night' time t.v.

cyndi pauper has quite a resume of film work. soundtracks aside, she has acted in lots of films and television. having once played a character called 'Avalon Harmonia' i have a feeling her trippiness serves her well in attaining roles.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

odd poster

i can't make sense of the french translation of 'the maltese falcon.' here is what i have found:

Le chat m'a donné un coup de griffe. The cat scratched me.

well, i know 'jaune' means yellow. see what i mean? my mind is racing. yellow means coward! griffe means scratch! they discovered the falcon was a fake by scratching at it! still makes no sense. why not just call it 'the maltese falcon' and say it with a french accent? so easy. plus, is that peter lorre in a military suit? when he and bogart tussled with the gun peter was wearing an evening suit from the night before. nonsense aside, i love how the french adore american cinema and keep great old films playing in paris revival houses.

her testament

i have just read mary astor's autobiography. it seems unkind to say i loved it as her story is full of suffering but i did love it. will i ever look at my favorite actors the same? probably, as it is their job to convince me they are the people they are portraying. however, to know how this particular actress came to her profession (pushed by her parents) and how she dealt with early success and never having to mature (alcohol dependency) is yet again another lesson on life from one who was brave enough to share it.

the process of writing her story was part of therapy she undertook. therefore it kinda has the messy stuff mixed in with mentions of how lovely bette davis was to work with and how much she loved her own children. later in her life she came to the realization that she had not been very good at using her intelligent mind, that she allowed her emotions to make her decisions.

'it doesn't dilute enjoyment to postpone it a minute-instead of grabbing at it like an infant.' wise mary.

mary astor was used by many, beginning with her own parents. one great lesson here is how habitual any treatment we receive becomes. then again, habit is based on emotions, not the intelligence we possess. regarding all the stormy times, she rode them out. lucky for us she also wrote them out.

great photo of mary astor and her children. her daughter is truly her mini me! and look at mary's shoes and socks. and trousers. so chic i want to change my wardrobe.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

the great gloria

gloria grahame and humphrey bogart in 1950's 'in a lonely place.'

photo: wishing he'd have a cigarette and SLOW DOWN.

plus she had a lisp

gloria grahame was just so dang fun to watch. whether she played good or bad (mostly bad) her unique style has never been matched. her characters seemed innocently swept up in the mess of life. she certainly played out and out bad ('sudden fear') but her wonderful role in 'in a lonely place' takes us on a trip inside a person who is really trying to navigate the rocky waters of a man she allows herself to love. bogart as the sourpuss lets her in for a rough ride. i thank them both for the treat.
today is gloria's birthday!

photos: gloria/with glenn ford/robert mitchum/sterling hayden

and in the end

i just watched a very patched up version of the last film marilyn monroe made. 1962's unfinished remake 'something's gotta give' also starred dean martin and the luminous cyd charisse. i know patience is a virtue but 40 years? that is how long it took for people to share the assemblage of scenes meant to construct the zany tale of a wife who's been stranded on a desert island for four years only to return home to find her spouse remarried.
the moment where monroe sneaks into her old backyard and watches her kids is hard to believe and it doesn't get any more believable. the sweetest fact is that dean martin refused to finish the picture if marilyn was replaced. indeed she was fired before being rehired. she died before the film was completed and we are able to see that marilyn was astonishingly beautiful just days before her death. the toll the pills were taking upon her were not apparent. her radiant smile as she tussles with a dog knocks you for a loop.
film aside, there are rare test takes of her turning it on for the camera. it is a privilege to see her outshine all others.


Friday, November 27, 2009

channeling michael pitt

crowd scene from 'la strada' series watercolor by pal shazar/actor michael pitt circa 2007

'tennis sweater' blonde

another way of saying 'platinum'!

'thank you girl..

... for loving me the way that you do.' if the beatles song had existed, this would have been the moment for frank to break out into song. shirley maclaine was at her best in the role as the too devoted gal kept at a distance by one time soldier, one time writer guy of her dreams. in the blink of his baby blue eyes he realizes a good thing when she responds to his anger at her not understanding a word he just read to her by telling him it doesn't matter cause she 'felt' it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

naomi rocks

how could she not? her dad, peter watts, was a road manager and sound engineer with pink floyd. serious credentials that perhaps have little to do with what a terrific actress she is.

great actress

what a lovely face. eleanor parker has the sort of grace i associate with maureen o'hara. onscreen she seems like the dream partner and mother. however, she rocked herself right out of that stereotype when cast as 'zosch' (creepy name!) in 'the man with the golden arm.' as wife of protagonist 'frankie machine' she is wheelchair bound and seems to live only to be a constant reminder of the accident which left her so dependent. she is amazingly draining. not one to spill endings, this one is a pip.

it gets worse

bad enough to really know about heroin addiction but novelist nelson algren, best known for his 1950 National Book Award winning The Man With the Golden Arm, was replaced as screenwriter when otto preminger chose to make the film. from what i've read, the highly respected novel was give a hollywood polish that has many fans of algren's wringing their hands at the shame of otto.
since i thought sinatra, kim novak, and eleanor parker were stunning in their performances, i did not know i had anything to complain about. the time has come to read the book.

sinatra as 'frankie'

thanksgiving day

how grateful i am to have found this lovely photo just now. i am deeply immersed in making a series of watercolors based on the fellini film 'la strada' so naturally my mind's eye is filled with images of his wife/muse/film star giulietta masina.

photo of Giulietta Masina in 'Nights of Cabiria' (1957, dir. Federico Fellini)

The subject of loneliness and the observation of the isolated person has always interested me. Even as a child, I couldn’t help but notice those who didn’t fit in for one reason or another—myself included. -fellini

photo courtesy: scary mansion

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


i don't know if it is a penchant for black and white films as the gorgeous 'last tango in paris' is a personal fave but of recent movies, i really love 'ed wood' (for me this is recent) and another little charmer, 2003's 'coffee and cigarettes.' this quirky project is made up of hilarious vignettes starring unusual/famous faces. director jim jarmusch won me totally. of all the great performances (i wish i could hug alfred molina) it is steve buscemi that really gets under the skin. he is just so cool yet kind of unrelaxed. he is truly electric.

photos: buscemi 'relaxing'/buscemi in 'coffee and cigarettes' trying to convince the quarrelsome twins that elvis did not die. they could care less.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

cultures mesh

france's jeanne moreau and italy's monica vitti.

name dropping

fresh out of the gate patti smith began turning me on to writers, films, and herself. one of the first things she celebrated was the black slip worn so well by actress jeanne moreau.

photo: 'no no no. i want one like she wore in 'la notte!'

fashion moment

icons unite: back when chanel and jeanne moreau shared more than i imagine one does today with the likes of the affectionately titled 'krazy karl', chanel's predecessor at the label whose linking c's still work.

not beatle but mania

screams, tears, and fainting. here's one reason.

rob pattinson photographed by hedi slimane

Monday, November 23, 2009


no matter how many times i see this image i fall for her again. eternally audrey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

mary badham

what a knockout little actress. 'scout' from 'to kill a mockingbird' is the deeply curious and wise daughter who is also the narrator of the film. genius actress kim stanley did the voiceover narration. crazy fact: mary made a total of four films.

photos: mary badham/mary having fun with brilliant director robert mulligan

blue drawing by pal shazar

thank you sherry

most devoted and interesting commentor, nipper, has done me the honor of making a slide show to go along with my recording 'god, no.' for all you chaplin fans, you can now see this lovely piece of work on youtube.

welcome jude

i have only seen a couple films he's done but actor jude law was really good. however, his sartorial choice here is outstanding.

the wind cries mary

edward burne-jones (1833-1898) by way of dante gabriel rossetti (1828-1882). exquisite art inspired by exquisite art! actress mary astor was not born until 1906 but she seemed to be the muse/model for both artists.

top two: jones bottom: rossetti

thoroughly modern mary

even if she looked like a pre-raphaelite angel who stepped right out of a painting, this actress was all too human. from her mid teens she was the sole wage earner for herself and parents who pushed the daylights out of her to succeed. i am reading her autobiography now and it is heaven. plenty more posts to follow i am sure.

twice the joy

how i love both patty duke and anne bancroft. they brought an unbelievable true story to life in 1962's 'the miracle worker.' patty played helen keller, a child who could not see hear or speak but who grew up to read, write, and inspire. anne played her devoted teacher. their roles took home both best actress and best supporting actress at the 1963 oscars.

flower power

marlene dietrich daring you to even notice them.

j.d. revisited

you can just hear him coaxing, 'ah, c'mon....'

who's counting?

a mere 8 soundtrack credits shy of matching dylan, john's 281 total is equally staggering. john acted in 9 films and even if we only had 'a hard day's night' i'd be satisfied. it is always interesting to me which people are photographed with cats as opposed to dogs. feline love to john.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


making the monster

behind the wheel with alex (malcolm mcdowell). his philosophy? you want a car, just pluck it from the trees.....

all in the family

top: johnny depp as i like him the most. uniquely disarming.

below: a family that lays together stays together. johnny, vanessa paradis and their tots.

head of the class

jeremy irons doing what he loves: having a cigarette before blowing our minds with his talent.


watercolor by pal shazar

giulietta masina 1921-1994

this brilliant actress is known in her native county as the female chaplin. ever willing to reveal her soul through her large eyes, like chaplin she is deeply comical. her role as the prostitute in 'nights of cabiria' is astonishing for its strength of character. however, it is her portrayal of 'gelsomina' in 'la strada' that she will forever be best remembered for.
from stage to screen to radio she truly lit up the world. giulietta was married and devoted to director federico fellini for fifty years. they died within five months of one another.

priceless photo of fellini directing giulietta.